We're going to break this part down and unpack it a good bit. Reread vs. 20.
<> What does Paul hope will not happen?
<> According to the verse what would count as shame in Paul’s book?
<> What causes you to feel ashamed?
One Shame from One Goal:
Paul says I eagerly hope and expect that I will not be ashamed but instead that Christ will be exalted in my entire life. In other words, Paul says that the only thing that can put him to shame is if his life does not exalt Christ. Paul has one goal: that the daily decisions, thoughts and actions of his life would all lift Christ’s name higher no matter what the cost.
<> Considering what makes you feel ashamed, what does that reveal about your main goal in life?
<> What would you have to change in your heart for your only shame to be if the sum total of your life didn’t exalt Jesus?
Following Jesus is not about a one-time decision, or semi-regular experiences or a head-knowledge belief system that has no daily expression. Following Jesus is about daily surrender and submission to Christ’s will being better than your will. It is daily dying to your selfish desires, sinful attitudes and ignorance in order to follow Christ (Luke 9:23, 1 Peter 1:14-15). When you narrow the focus of your life to one goal, even menial tasks can be thought of and conducted in ways that glorify God (1 Cor. 10:31-32).
The Cost of Avoiding Shame:
<> In Philippians 1:20, what does Paul say it will require for him to not be ashamed?
<> Why does it require courage to exalt Jesus no matter what?
<> What does the end of vs. 20 reveal as a very real threat to Paul?
The truth of the matter is that following Christ costs. Obedience costs us our desires. Accepting grace costs us our pride. Love costs us everything. This is one of the simplest truths that Jesus teaches on the cross. Love costs. Grace costs. Obedience costs. Paul writes that his one hope is that in his body, Christ would be exalted whether by life or by death. That is an amazingly huge and beautiful goal for life. Whether I die in this prison, or whether I continue to life, I pray that I would not be ashamed, but that in everything I will exalt Jesus. There is a way to live that exalts Jesus and a way to die that exalts Jesus and there are thousands of ways to live and die that do not.
<> How does your life exalt Jesus?
<> Where does that rank on the meta-priority list of your life?
<> In what ways do you need to repent and follow Paul’s example?